Zelda Producer on Long Tutorials: "I'm Going to Be Careful Not to Do That"
Do you remember how the beginning of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword felt like it took forever to go through the tutorials and get to the adventure? Eiji Aonuma, producer/director of many Legend of Zelda titles, definitely remembers. In an interview with Kotaku writer Jason Schreier, Mr. Aonuma explained what he learned from Skyward Sword's tutorial heavy intro.
Yes. When we created Skyward Sword, I really felt the need to make sure that everyone playing the game understood it. But I also understand now, in hindsight, that when you go out and buy a game, you buy the game because you want to play it, and you don't want to have any obstacles in the way. And I guess it was received as a bit of an obstacle.
In a game, it's when you get stuck, when you want that help. And I kinda frontloaded all that in Skyward Sword, and it doesn't really help to get that information when you don't know what to do with it. So that was a real learning experience for me. So I'm going to be careful not to do that.
The Legend of Zelda franchise has always been one of the finer examples of how to do tutorials right. In fact, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past has one of the best tutorials of all time. How good was it?
It took me nearly 20 years to realize everything from the beginning of the game to the moment you first rescue Princess Zelda is one long tutorial. It's incredible to go back and realize just how many mechanics I learned in that first dungeon without a single dialog box telling me what the A button does.
Perhaps it's appropriate that A Link to the Past's sequel A Link Between Worlds would be the first to carry out Mr. Aonuma's new design philosophy by having "hint ghosts" instead of excessive intro tutorials. Since Mr. Aonuma is the producer on the new Wii U Zelda title announced at E3 2014, you can expect the same minimal tutorial approach.
Did you think Skyward Sword's tutorial was too long? Do you think there are too many tutorials in games today? Let us know down in the comments below.